ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS
* TRUSTS * WILLS * POWER OF ATTORNEYS *
CALL US TODAY TO DISCUSS YOUR ESTATE PLANNING NEEDS
A Living Trust is the legal document that protects the way in your property and assets will pass on to your loved ones when you pass away. When you have a Living Trust prepared, you will identify your Who will inherit your property as well as the person who will carry out your wishes, your successor trustee. Call us today at 510-344-5445 to discuss your Estate Planning needs.
There are many benefits to getting a Living Trust:
Simple and quick transfer of real and personal property to your loved ones when you pass away.
immediate step in by the person you designate to manage your estate should you become incapacitated.
Avoiding the long, expensive and unnecessary process of probate.
Trusts are considered a non-public or "private" document. If you die without a Trust, your estate must go into Probate and becomes a public record. A Revocable Living Trust can be revoked or amended at any time during your lifetime. Call us today at 510-344-5445 to discuss your Estate Planning needs.
A complete Trust package
At A Golden Service LLC, our Living Trust is a complete end-of-life document package that includes not only the Trust but a Financial Power of Attorney and an Advanced Healthcare Directive. We also have a section to list emergency contact information for key providers that could include doctors, insurance agents, bankers, contractors—even veterinarians if there are family pets. We encourage our clients to include their logins and passwords to their online accounts—this can save countless hours and inconvenience if there is an emergency or a need to access brokerage or banking accounts for key information. We want our clients to think carefully to include information that their loved ones would need if something should happen to them. Call us today at 510-344-5445 to discuss your Estate Planning needs.
Financial Power Of Attorney
A Financial Power of Attorney puts someone in place to act on your behalf to handle financial and business transactions. Someone with a Power Of Attorney will usually be called upon to do such things as pay bills, ensure financial and tax matters are handled, operate business interests or ensure you receive quality care. For many people, a Financial Power of Attorney comes into effect when parents or other family members become mentally or physically incapable of taking care of their own affairs, and a family member or trusted aid takes over. At A Golden Service LLC, we include a Financial Power of Attorney in our Living Trust Package. Call us today at 510-344-5445 to discuss your Estate Planning needs.
Wills & Living Trusts
Advanced Healthcare Directive
An Advanced Healthcare Directive advises your physician, family and friends of your healthcare choices, including the types of treatment(s) you do or don’t want at the end of life–your preferred choice for things like diagnostic testing, pain management and surgical procedures. You should be thinking about whether or not you will want to sign a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR), how you feel about hospice and organ donation. You will want to think about whether you want to spend your final days in nursing care or in your own home. You should be prepared to select the person who will be in charge of your healthcare choices and discuss the matter with that person ahead of time—this person could be a spouse, son, daughter or other agent. At A Golden Service LLC, an Advanced Healthcare Directive is included in our Living Trust Package. Call us today at 510-344-5445 to discuss your Estate Planning needs.
Pour Over Will
There is a lot to think about when you prepare legal documents, and many of our clients are concerned that they will have forgotten to include some of their assets in their Living Trusts. For this purpose, there is a safety net that A Golden Service LLC includes in our Living Trust package called a Pour Over Will. It essentially transfers any remaining assets or property not previously transferred into the Trust—they “pour over” into the Trust so they may be distributed according to the terms of the Trust. Call us today at 510-344-5445 to discuss your Estate Planning needs.
Have you been procrastinating about preparing your Living Trust?
Contact us today at 510-344-5445 to discuss your needs; most of our clients tell us that it was much easier than they thought it would be.
What is Estate Planning?
Believe it or not, you have an estate. In fact, nearly everyone does. Your estate is comprised of everything you own— your car, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, personal possessions. No matter how large or how modest, everyone has an estate and something in common—you can’t take it with you when you pass away. Call us today 510-344-5445 to discuss your Estate Planning needs.
When that happens—and it is a “when” and not an “if”—you probably want to control how those things are given to the people or organizations you care most about. To ensure your wishes are carried out, you need to provide instructions stating whom you want to receive something of yours, what you want them to receive, and when they are to receive it. You will, of course, want this to happen with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees, and court costs.
That is estate planning—making a plan in advance and naming whom you want to receive the things you own after you die. However, good estate planning is much more than that. It should also:
Include instructions for passing your values (religion, education, hard work, etc.) in addition to your valuables.
Include instructions for your care if you become disabled before you die.
Name a guardian and an inheritance manager for minor children.
Provide for family members with special needs without disrupting government benefits.
Provide for loved ones who might be irresponsible with money or who may need future protection from creditors or divorce.
Include life insurance to provide for your family at your death, disability income insurance to replace your income if you cannot work due to illness or injury, and long-term care insurance to help pay for your care in case of an extended illness or injury.
Provide for the transfer of your business at your retirement, disability, or death.
Minimize taxes, court costs, and unnecessary legal fees.
Be an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Your plan should be reviewed and updated as your family and financial situations (and laws) change over your lifetime.
Estate planning is for everyone. Call us today at 510-344-5445 to discuss your Estate Planning needs.
It is not just for “retired” people, although people do tend to think about it more as they get older. Unfortunately, we can’t successfully predict how long we will live, and illness and accidents happen to people of all ages.
Estate planning is not just for “the wealthy,” either, although people who have built some wealth do often think more about how to preserve it. Good estate planning often means more to families with modest assets, because they can afford to lose the least.
Too many people don’t plan. Call us today at 510-344-5445 to discuss your Estate Planning needs..
Individuals put off estate planning because they think they don’t own enough, they’re not old enough, they’re busy, think they have plenty of time, they’re confused and don’t know who can help them, or they just don’t want to think it. Then, when something happens to them, their families have to pick up the pieces.
If you don’t have a plan, your state has one for you, but you probably won’t like it.
At disability: If your name is on the title of your assets and you can’t conduct business due to mental or physical incapacity, only a court appointee can sign for you. The court, not your family, will control how your assets are used to care for you through a conservatorship or guardianship (depending on the term used in your state). It can become expensive and time consuming, it is open to the public, and it can be difficult to end even if you recover.
At your death: If you die without an intentional estate plan, your assets will be distributed according to the probate laws in your state. In many states, if you are married and have children, your spouse and children will each receive a share. That means your spouse could receive only a fraction of your estate, which may not be enough to live on. If you have minor children, the court will control their inheritance. If both parents die (i.e., in a car accident), the court will appoint a guardian without knowing whom you would have chosen.
Given the choice—and you do have the choice—wouldn’t you prefer these matters be handled privately by your family, not by the courts? Wouldn’t you prefer to keep control of who receives what and when? And, if you have young children, wouldn’t you prefer to have a say in who will raise them if you can’t?
An estate plan begins with a will or living trust. Call us today at 510-344-5445 to discuss your Estate Planning needs.
A will provides your instructions, but it does not avoid probate. Any assets titled in your name or directed by your will must go through your state’s probate process before they can be distributed to your heirs. (If you own property in other states, your family will probably face multiple probates, each one according to the laws in that state.) The process varies greatly from state to state, but it can become expensive with legal fees, executor fees, and court costs. It can also take anywhere from nine months to two years or longer. With rare exception, probate files are open to the public and excluded heirs are encouraged to come forward and seek a share of your estate. In short, the court system, not your family, controls the process.
Not everything you own will go through probate. Jointly-owned property and assets that let you name a beneficiary (for example, life insurance, IRAs, 401(k)s, annuities, etc.) are not controlled by your will and usually will transfer to the new owner or beneficiary without probate. But there are many problems with joint ownership, and avoidance of probate is not guaranteed. For example, if a valid beneficiary is not named, the assets will have to go through probate and will be distributed along with the rest of your estate. If you name a minor as a beneficiary, the court will probably insist on a guardianship until the child legally becomes an adult.
For these reasons a revocable living trust is preferred by many families and professionals. It can avoid probate at death (including multiple probates if you own property in other states), prevent court control of assets at incapacity, bring all of your assets (even those with beneficiary designations) together into one plan, provide maximum privacy, is valid in every state, and can be changed by you at any time. It can also reflect your love and values to your family and future generations.
Unlike a will, a trust doesn’t have to die with you. Assets can stay in your trust, managed by the trustee you selected, until your beneficiaries reach the age you want them to inherit. Your trust can continue longer to provide for a loved one with special needs, or to protect the assets from beneficiaries’ creditors, spouses, and irresponsible spending.
A living trust is more expensive initially than a will, but considering it can avoid court interference at incapacity and death, many people consider it to be a bargain.
Planning your estate will help you organize your records and correct titles and beneficiary designations. Call us today at 510-344-5445 to discuss your Estate Planning needs.
Would your family know where to find your financial records, titles, and insurance policies if something happened to you? Planning your estate now will help you organize your records, locate titles and beneficiary designations, and find and correct errors.
Most people don’t give much thought to the wording they put on titles and beneficiary designations. You may have good intentions, but an innocent error can create all kinds of problems for your family at your disability and/or death. Beneficiary designations are often out-of-date or otherwise invalid. Naming the wrong beneficiary on your tax-deferred plan can lead to devastating tax consequences. It is much better for you to take the time to do this correctly now than for your family to pay an attorney to try to fix things later.
Estate planning does not have to be expensive. Call us today at 510-344-5445 to discuss your Estate Planning needs.
If you don’t think you can afford a complex estate plan now, start with what you can afford. For a young family or single adult, that may mean a will, term life insurance, and powers of attorney for your assets and health care decisions. Then, let your planning develop and expand as your needs change and your financial situation improves. Don’t try to do this yourself to save money. An experienced professional will be able to provide critical guidance and peace of mind that your documents are prepared properly.
The best time to plan your estate is now. Call us today at 510-344-5445 to discuss your Estate Planning needs.
None of us really likes to think about our own mortality or the possibility of being unable to make decisions for ourselves. This is exactly why so many families are caught off-guard and unprepared when incapacity or death does strike. Don’t wait. You can put something in place now and change it later…which is exactly the way estate planning should be done.
The best benefit is peace of mind. Cal today at 510-344-5445 to discuss your Estate Planning needs.
Knowing you have a properly prepared plan in place - one that contains your instructions and will protect your family - will give you and your family peace of mind. This is one of the most thoughtful and considerate things you can do for yourself and for those you love.